Mountain House Flight
One of the most distinctive and historical structures in Alaska is Don Sheldon's Mountain house, overlooking the Don Sheldon Ampitheatre at the top of the Ruth Glacier.
Our Mountain House air tour gives the passenger a good look at both the amphitheatre and the spectacular Ruth Gorge. This route is the basis for all Sheldon flightseeing tours.
You'll depart from Talkeetna and experience the vast river and forest lands on the short trip over to the Alaska range.
The river and forest lands are home to Alaska's wild game such as black bear and moose. In addition, there are occasional lodges to be sighted along the lake shores, often only accessible by float plane.
Sheldon' Air Service's pilots know the lay of the land like the back of their hand and will point out points of interest on the way, as the terrain gradually changes through the foothills of the Alaska Range. Every passenger gets a headset and can converse with the pilot while in flight.
Denai is so massive that it won't appear to get closer until you are past the foothills and flying up the Tokositna Glacier. Off to the left will be Little Switzerland, a popular destination for both technical climbing expeditions and fun day trips.
Next you climb over the Tokositna Glacier as it winds toward Denali, flying within six miles of the massive summit.
The 'Tok' as it is popularly called is a relatively small glacier on the southern approach to Denali, however it gives the passenger a great sense of how the majestic topography of the Alaska Range generates ancient glaciers.
After a run through the 747 pass, you turn up the head of the Ruth Glacier and land at Ruth West landing strip.
When on the flight you will marvel to the Don Sheldon Amphitheatre named by the National Geographic Society at the suggestion of Bradford Washburn at the top of the the Ruth Glacier.
You will see Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth peaks, popular climber destinations on the far side of the Amphitheatre.
In the course of the climbing season, Sheldon pilots deliver and pick up climb teams to the tiny landing area called the Root Canal. One of our 2012 teams made a cool video of their ascent of the Moose's Tooth via the Ham and Eggs route.
An aerial view of Don Sheldon's Mountain House is the focal point of the Sheldon Air Service basic flightseeing tour.
The Mountain House was build in 1966 by Sheldon as a climber refuge and private retreat and is a popular overnight destination. Reservations for the Mountain House are booked up to two years in advance, but you can land and see the location on any flight, any time of year.
To top it off you will experience the majestic Ruth Gorge on the way back to Talkeetna. The Great Gorge, as it is sometimes called, is a mile deep in some places. The floor is the rugged Ruth Glacier. Watch for the brilliant pools of bright blue glacier melt water.
A landing at the peak-ringed Ruth Amphitheatre allows the flightseer to take the majesty of the surroundings into perspective and grab photos of the range. A glacier landing will add an extra half hour to the flight and is the highlight of any flightseeing experience. On the way back, the Tokositna River area at the base of the Alaska Range offers another opportunity to view moose and bear in their natural habitat.